Mile News

A love of running helps the author’s father and son cope with illness and unites three generations

June 20, 2016

I remember as a young boy going through the scrapbook he kept as a teenager full of clippings from Roger Bannister running the first sub-4 minute Mile in 1954

By Scott Reid, Orange County Register

My first memory of really running, running with a purpose, is from the early summer of 1968.

I was 8 years old and obsessed with Jim Ryun and the crew of runners chasing him that Olympic season in lemon-colored singlets with “OREGON” in green letters across their chests. Each morning I rode with my Dad, Richard Reid, to the dirt high school track in Stevenson, Wash., population 1,000, the logging and lumber mill town he and I grew up in on the banks of the Columbia River as it cuts through the Cascades, 45 minutes east of Portland.

My Dad, a teacher and counselor, was helping his brother Jim get in shape before he shipped off to Vietnam. So I would follow them around the track for two, three miles. The sprinkler system set up on the ragged football field usually left the inside lanes soaked even on the hottest days, and the soles of my Dad’s adidas Italias left a distinct trail all around the track. I followed my father’s path through each lap but, try as I might, could never quite land squarely in his footsteps.

It would be something of the story of my life.

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